Al­co­hol and drug treat­ment bud­get cut

Surrey Advertiser - - Front Page -

drug and al­co­hol treat­ment across Sur­rey in 2013/14 but this has fallen to 12% this fi­nan­cial year.

SCC’s cuts re­flect a na­tional trend in which coun­cils are on av­er­age cut­ting bud­gets for drug and al­co­hol treat­ment by 15%.

How­ever, UKAT ar­gues that the cut in spend­ing is cost­ing peo­ple their lives at a time where the num­ber of peo­ple dy­ing from sub­stance abuse is at a record high.

The char­ity claims that deaths are 30% more than when the bud­get for drug and al­co­hol treat­ment was pro­tected by the gov­ern­ment.

Ac­cord­ing to the Of­fice of Na­tional Statis­tics, deaths linked to drug mis­use across Sur­rey has in­creased by 18% over the last four years.

UKAT fears that fu­ture cuts will only ex­ac­er­bate drug and al­co­hol de­pen­dence is­sues which will put fur­ther strain on the al­ready stretched emer­gency ser­vices.

Ey­tan Alexan­der, founder of UKAT said: “SCC has been forced into spin­ning even more plates with even less money. This de­ci­sion was, with­out a doubt, a cat­a­lyst for dis­as­ter.

“Slash­ing bud­gets on sub­stance mis­use is a false econ­omy as it sim­ply piles the pres­sure on our al­ready stretched emer­gency ser­vices. The alarm­ing cor­re­la­tion be­tween the real term cut to coun­cil bud­gets and the rise in drug-re­lated deaths across the coun­try needs to be ad­dressed and this vi­cious cy­cle needs to end.”

A SCC spokesman said: “We con­tinue to work with the NHS and our lo­cal district and bor­oughs to en­sure all Sur­rey res­i­dents have ac­cess to help and in­for­ma­tion be­cause their health and well­be­ing is of para­mount im­por­tance

“How­ever, we are fac­ing huge bud­get pres­sures due to cuts in gov­ern­ment fund­ing and in­creas­ing de­mand for our ser­vices and we have to find sav­ings of more than £100m this year alone.”

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